When the first UNO report on the development of world volunteering was represented in Kyiv, its slogan: “Volunteers are the wealth of the nations” imprinted in the memory of all participants of the presentation.
The foreign speakers Olivier Adam (UNO Resident Coordinator in Ukraine) and Giovanni Mozzarelli (Coordinator of UNO Volunteering Program) expressed warning about profanity of volunteering values. By this is understood the substitution of the principle of voluntariness by compulsory but made to appear as voluntary involvement in volunteering, traditional for post-Soviet area.
The misconceptions about volunteering as well as interesting facts regarding the development tendency of volunteering in Ukraine and worldwide were considered:
• about 3/5 of young Ukrainians participated in volunteer activities in 2011;
• only 10% of the volunteers were involved in this activity by organizations of so-called third sector;
• about 450 of the 500 major companies in the world implement programs by means of involving their employees to volunteer activity (e.g. common activities with Microsoft Co. in Ukraine).
Ukrainian Association of Retired Persons attaches greater importance for volunteering. So long as a lot of lonely people and disabled people who need assistance among the members of UARP. It goes about purchase of medicines and foodstuff, cleaning aid, as well as payment for public services. Some of the elderly, especially lonely seniors need help to get out taking some fresh air. Such help is always needed in rural areas namely in procurement of fuel for the winter and work at the household plot. City dwellers also require help while applying to housing offices and other institutions providing power, gas and water supply, sewage, cable TV etc. Volunteers become close people for the lonely disabled pensioners and are always ready to provide free assistance.
Everybody reminds oneself the quotation about the luxury of human communication by famous French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Anyone who knows the needs and problems of the elderly people will understand that it's not just a phrase-mongering statement, but a vital need in communication. The results of the public opinion poll of the pensioners came as no surprise for UARP. Among the ten listed issues the first place belongs not to scanty pension or illnesses, but to the problem of communication, lack of such basic things as ability to find someone who would have listened to you!
UARP volunteers not only rendered assistance for the lonely disabled pensioners, but also provided real assistance in the implementation of Cultural Program by UARP. They distributed free publications of the Association and contributed to the price monitoring of medicines in Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Kryvy Rih, Khmelnytsky etc.
We are grateful to such volunteers as: Ms. Nikitina (Kyiv), Mr. Kushnaryov (Zaporizhzhya), Mr. Stolyaruk (Rivne region) and others. And other volunteers there were a U.S. citizen Graham Seybert, who had been providing free assistance in maintaining and updating the website of the Association for one year long.